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Mental Health Awareness Week: Looking after relationships

​The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (16-22 May) is relationships, and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is reminding people that all relationships are an important part of a person’s mental health.

The Wellbeing services in Norfolk and Suffolk build on and compliment mainstream health services which includes offering support and advice about relationships.

There are teams of specialised staff who can help through approaches such as therapy groups, workshops, telephone treatments, and one-to-one work as well as signpost people to other community-based resources and support.

They work together with a number of NHS, voluntary and charitable organisations locally, including Relate. Liz Farrow, General Manager of Relate Norfolk & Suffolk said: “It is widely known that relationships and wellbeing are closely linked so we are delighted that this year the Mental Health Foundation has chosen relationships as the theme to focus on.”

Norfolk and Waveney Wellbeing Service has recently started holding a series of socials giving people the opportunity to meet new people and expand their social network. The events include nature walks, workshops, and coffee and catch ups.

Nesta Reeve, Clinical Lead for NSFT’s Wellbeing services, said: “Having good relationships has a positive impact on your wellbeing and therefore your mental health. We often talk about things like anxiety and sleep deprivation impacting on your mental health, but relationships are fundamental to how we feel.

“Relationships don’t just include your partner or immediate family, it extends to lots of people you come into contact with and connect with. We have identified that helping people to develop and sustain relationships with others in the community is key in continuing to maintain positive wellbeing. In fact it is important to us all, having good relationships can help you manage the everyday ups and downs of life and keep us feeling mentally healthy.”

To find out more about the monthly socials, visit

A large part of Suffolk Wellbeing Service’s work focuses on building networks and helping people to connect with other people in their community. They have interventions specifically designed to help people to improve their relationships such as Interpersonal Therapy for depression, couples counselling via Relate, and psychoeducational courses allowing people to meet up with others struggling with issues similar to them – some of the courses have led to self-maintained peer support groups.

The Suffolk Wellbeing Service also works in partnership with Suffolk Family Carers who run wellbeing courses for carers of people with mental health difficulties, autism and/or dementia. This work allows carers not to feel alone and to build supportive relationships with other carers, and NSFT’s partners. In addition, the Trust works with the national organisation VoiceAbility to help people from minority groups to connect with their wider communities.

To find out more about NSFT’s Norfolk and Waveney Wellbeing Service, please contact them on 0300 123 1503 or visit

To find out more about NSFT’s Suffolk Wellbeing Service, please contact them on 0300 123 1781 or visit

Relate Norfolk & Suffolk offers information, advice and counselling for all stages of your relationships. To contact Relate call 01603 625333 or 01473 254118 or visit